The exciting promise of real wireless charging – not just picking up the phone on a charging pad ̵
Through the company Weibo account (a Chinese microblogging site not unlike Twitter), Oppo shared a video that coincided with the Mobile World Congress, Shanghai, which kicks off today. The video features the Oppo X 2021 mobile concept smartphone, first revealed in November last year with a flexible OLED screen that rolls to stretch and shrink the size of the screen, and is charged wirelessly on a pad that does not require the device to sit directly on the charging coil.
The wireless charging technology currently available to consumers depends on tightly wound wire coils located in the charger, as well as on internal devices that support it. When placed close together, current flowing through the charging coil induces a current in the unit coil, so that the battery is charged without a cable being physically inserted. However, the coils must be placed very close together for this phenomenon to occur, making it difficult to use a device while charging. That’s why Apple has added the MagSafe feature to the iPhone 12 series, ensuring that a wireless charger stays attached to the devices (and the charging coils remain aligned) even if the phones are picked up and used.
It’s convenient, but not as convenient as real wireless charging, which companies like Ossia has demonstrated at CES for a few years now. The ideal is a device that starts charging when it simply comes close to a wireless charger, which so far has been shown to have a range that is about the same as the average room in your home. Last month, Xiaomi announced its own wireless charging system called “Mi Air Charge Technology,“Which works in the same way as Ossia’s Cota wireless technology, although none of the solutions are available to consumers yet.
Oppo seems to take a different approach than some of them Xiaomi and Ossia. The Oppo X 2021 does not need to make physical contact with the wireless charging plate to draw up to 7.5 watts of power (a little more than the iPhone’s small cube charger delivers), but the company’s wireless charging does not allow users to walk around a room either.
The phone can be picked up and moved around—charging does not appear to depend on direction –but according to than Verge, the distance is limited to approx. 10 centimeters (approx. 4 inches). The video Oppo shared Weibo also seems to indicate that a device must be held over the charging plate at all times. It seems a little more convenient than the limitations of an induction charger, but not as convenient as Apple’s MagSafe solution. which makes the device easier to use while charging.
There is no timeline when Oppos wireless charging can be made available to consumers – if ever-depending on how the feedback is during Mobile World Congress, Shanghai. But while it is a step in the right direction, we are more likely to wait for Ossia and Xiaomi to deliver their solutions, which gives more freedom and flexibility.